The Moment of Truth: Is it all going to fit?

Short answer: No. Bloodyminded answer: I’m going to repack on Friday.

I will not be defeated by a rucksack. I may be defeated by some of the items that I want to put into it, but damnit, I will not be beaten by a bag.

For those who are anticipating particular items to be included in this rucksack… I’m afraid the fine china teacup and saucer did not make the cut. I wasnt even going to attempt to pack them. Neither did the toilet roll – I’ll buy some in Moscow. The fake spaghetti can is out though it’s a marvellous idea and… actually might help some of the packing issues. I may rethink that decision.

But it ain’t going to be cold enough to justify the tartan rug.

What is on the packing list? What influenced the packing?

Let’s start with the influences. I’ve seen lots of travellers… usually bent double under a rucksack twice as big as them on their backs, with another one half the size on their front. It’s hard not to notice them.

I didn’t like that idea.

Then, as I was reading published packing lists (#TravelGeeking) to inform my own, I stumbled on this piece of advice: “Only pack as much as you can be arsed to carry while racing up the escalator at Charles de Gaulle Airport”. That’s a design for life, in my opinion.

So, I have an Osprey Fairview 40litre rucksack. It’s sold by multiple stockists, average retail price is £100 though I got mine for £70 in a sale. While I’m not planning to take many flights, I deliberately sought a rucksack that is cabin luggage sized. Why wait for luggage coming off the carousel when you can stroll straight off the plane and out of the airport?

Into this rucksack, I intend to pack (though one outfit will be worn for travelling, naturally):

  • One pair of travel jeans
  • One pair of travel leggings
  • Two pairs of capri pants (even if I do look like I’ve stolen a nine year old child’s clothes when I’m wearing them)
  • Two shirt dresses
  • One black dress
  • Six Tshirts
  • Two long sleeved shirts
  • One hoodie
  • One fleece (which I’m rethinking)
  • Four pairs of travel undies (Ex officio claim you just need one pair of their knickers to go around the world in, although they concede most women would prefer two… and we all know someone who packs knickers like they’re planning to have diarrhoea twice a day, every day)
  • Four pairs of socks
  • One waterproof coat
  • One pair of waterproof trousers
  • One pair of walking trainers (though I’m going to wear them)
  • One pair of comfy trainers
  • One pair of walking sandals
  • One pair of smart sandals
  • Three scarfs (lightweight as opposed to tartan rug weight)
  • Medical kit
  • Toiletries
  • Three journals, not one, three… gifts
  • Two chargers, one travel plug (with multiple charging points), assorted wires
  • Assorted gadgets to make life easier… a head torch, a collapsable travel bowl, a cotton shopping bag and three beeswax lunch bags in an attempt to reduce my plastic useage
  • Five gin miniatures
  • One towel (I was heavily influenced by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).
  • Two hats – one for rain and one for sun… (One friend told me that the sunny day hat makes me look like, and I quote: “an international woman of mystery”. Our other mate said the rainy day hat makes me look like Vera – she also advised me not to speak while I’m wearing it, because “the resemblance is uncanny”, apparently. Travel allows you to make new friends, you know).

The clothes (with the exception of the waterproof coat) all came from Rohan. I spent a fair bit of time reading up on appropriate travel fabrics: lightweight, easily washed, hard wearing, quick drying… in other words, masking the muck. If it doesn’t dry in less than three hours, I’m not interested.

Don’t panic: most of the places I’m going have laundrettes. I’m not going to be that filthy.

The theorised packing list was fine… would it be possible to pack every thing?

Would the stash shown in the featured photo fit into this bag?

I also bought a couple of packing gadgets: Osprey Packing Cubes and two Stuff Sacks from LifeVenture. Packing Cubes come in threes, like the three bears: one for large items (trousers and dresses), one for medium (Tshirts) and a small for the smalls. Then there are the Stuff Sacks for brute force squashing everything to as compact a size as possible.

They free up some serious space.

Shoes included for scale. The secret is in the rolling.

However, on this final dress rehearsal, there still isn’t enough room for everything I want to take. I’ve got time for another go or two, but I may have to give up on the Dipsticks game – intended as an icebreaker on the Trans Siberian Express journeys.

The idea is each participant selects a stick and has to describe the person or item named on the card, without naming them. It’s a fab idea and I’m dying to try it, if only to discover whether Jack Duckworth from Coronation Street has much of a following in Mongolia.

I’ve got to find a way to fit it in. However, I am more concerned about this…

Worrying times.

Not the swimming goggles… the TEABAGS! This will not do at all. Me and the rucksack have unfinished business.

Categories: Preparation, TravelTags: , , , , , , ,


  1. Why oh why are the Yorkshire teabags not already in the bag, yes you need a few in your pockets to replace the weird stuff they try to say is tea across the rest of the world, but I worry about your priorities if 6 t shirts are in when the teabags are out. 10 out of ten for Yorkshire Teabags ( there really is no better tea) but 0 for tea prioritisation.


    • They are in the bag. Don’t worry. Check my Twitter feed. I don’t think I could have left if they hadn’t made it into the bag.


  2. You definitely haven’t taken enough teabags😱. Should have filled the rucksack and left everything else! If stuck, order on Amazon to a forward destination or ask me and I’ll send to the address of choice. 💋 Enjoy (but not possible without tea – I keep a whole kitchen cupboard full in France). Much love, Maggie 🍑


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